New York State has a multifaceted strategy to help local law enforcement – police departments, sheriffs’ offices, district attorneys’ offices and probation departments – reduce, solve and prevent violent and gun crime.
Administered by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), the Gun Involved Violence Elimination (GIVE) initiative provides funding, focused training and technical assistance to 20 police departments and their law enforcement partners in 17 counties so they can more effectively reduce, solve and prevent shootings and firearm-related homicides.
The counties – Albany, Broome, Chautauqua, Dutchess, Erie, Monroe, Nassau, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Orange, Rensselaer, Rockland, Schenectady, Suffolk, Ulster and Westchester – historically account for more than 80 percent of the violent crime that occurs in New York State outside of New York City.
GIVE uses evidence-based strategies and focuses on four core elements to address shootings and gun violence:
- People - The strategy must focus preventative and enforcement efforts on top offenders who have been identified as being responsible for most shootings and homicides or aggravated assaults.
- Places - The strategy must focus preventative and enforcement efforts on the geographic locations (hot spots) where crime data and analysis demonstrate that most shootings and homicides or aggravated assaults occur.
- Alignment - The strategy must describe how partners will coordinate and align all existing resources in the community in an effort to reduce shootings and homicides or aggravated assaults where applicable.
- Engagement - The strategy must clearly articulate how organized outreach to key stakeholders and the community at large will occur; how the stakeholders and community will be given a voice; and how coordination will occur in a transparent manner that fosters wide-ranging support for violence reduction efforts.
SNUG Street Outreach Program
The SNUG Street Outreach program uses a public health model to address gun violence by identifying the source of the violence, interrupting the transmission and offering services and support to those who wish to change their behavior. The Department of Criminal Justice services administers funding to nonprofit organizations that operate the program in 12 communities: Albany, the Bronx, Buffalo, Hempstead, Mt. Vernon, Newburgh, Poughkeepsie, Rochester, Syracuse, Troy, Wyandanch and Yonkers. Recently, Governor Hochul announced state funding to support three new SNUG programs in Niagara Falls, Schenectady and Utica.
The program employs individuals seen as credible messengers: those with ties to the communities in which they work and previous involvement with the criminal justice system. These outreach workers detect, interrupt and intervene in high-risk disputes to prevent retaliation through mediation, mentoring and access to resources and services, including education assistance, drug and alcohol counseling, and job readiness training.
A unique partnership between DCJS and state Office of Victim Services also aims to address the trauma individuals face due to long-term exposure to gun violence and provides help and support to improve lives and strengthen neighborhoods impacted by crime. Social workers and case managers work at SNUG sites to provide mental health counseling and other services to individuals and families. Social workers also are embedded at trauma centers serving SNUG sites to reach victims and families in the immediate aftermath of violence and connect them with services and support from SNUG site-based social workers and case managers after discharge.
Crime Analysis Center Network
DCJS partners with local law enforcement agencies across the state to support a network of Crime Analysis Centers (CAC) that provide investigative support and information to help police and prosecutors more effectively solve, reduce and prevent crime. The centers are located in Albany, Broome, Franklin, Monroe, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Orange, Niagara and Suffolk counties and provide critical support to law enforcement agencies more than half of the state’s 62 counties. Centers also assist any law enforcement agency in the state upon request.
Assistance for Crime Victims
The state Office of Victim Services (OVS) funds more than 200 programs statewide that provide direct services to victims of crime and their families: therapy, support groups, case management, emergency shelter, civil legal assistance, accompaniment to court, and transportation, among other assistance.
The agency also provides financial assistance to individuals and families who have expenses related to the crime but have no resources, or have exhausted their resources, to pay for those expenses. New York is the only state that has no cap on expenses for medical or mental health expenses if an individual is deemed eligible. This has resulted in individuals receiving help throughout their lifetime.